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40v13: Water and Sewer

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Water Filtration System

We normally bring bottled water with us, in part because we don’t know how closely campgrounds keep up with maintenance, but also simply for reliable taste.

I saw this video from HappilyEverHanks (thanks, guys!!) showing a nice filtration setup and decided to go with that option as well.

I originally bought this filter canister set instead of the Clearsource one they used because it is a MUCH cheaper option.   Unfortunately, I seem to require an occasional reminder of the adage “you get what you pay for”.  I had the entire system put into place, using these metal valves (thinking they would be sturdier and less prone to leaks than their plastic counterparts).  *sigh*  Ok, these are twice as expensive as the plastic ones.  So that should mean they are twice as good!?  Nope.  After I had built the entire thing I turned on the water and found more leaks than my garden hose after a memorable fight with the lawn mower.

Grrrr.  After shutting off the water and sponging out the water bay area I marched (in a highly irritated sort of way) inside and ordered the Clearsource (2 filter) system.  I also purchased the plastic three-way valves, more PEX, and more clamps.  

At least now I had some practice putting things together, which helped to speed the work the second time around.  For example, I now cut the PEX and assemble the whole apparatus (putting the clamps in place but NOT crimping them down!) to ensure it all fits, places valves in accessible places, etc.  Once it all looks correct then I go back through and clamp everything.   Where possible, I pull sections of it out to clamp easier, but I try to face the crimps in directions that can be reached with the cutter in case I have to undo it someday.

Although I started out following the HappilyEverHanks design, I found that I didn’t really want or need a bypass around the filters.  It is handy to be sure, and I get why they did it.   In the end I decided that more connections introduced more potential points of failure, and if I want to bypass I will disconnect from the filters and connect to the normal water port.  Since I am adding a quick connect there as well this should be crazy fast and easy to do. 
As to new filters, I added a valve immediately after the filters that is not terminated.  I can slip a 1/2″ hose onto it and just run the water out to the ground.  I also use this to drain water/pressure prior to unhooking the hose so I don’t get sprayed when I disconnect (if that sounds to you like the voice of experience speaking, you would be quite correct!). 


The 3 foot hose laying on the bottom offers flexibility — I feared running PEX here could put strain on the system when connecting or disconnecting.  It has a quick connect on it (great idea, HappilyEverHanks!), and I added quick connects onto the Nautilus panel, the flow gauge, and I keep a spare for the garden hose at home.  This gives us maximum connection options without having to keep relocating the quick connects.

Next is the Measureman adjustable pressure gauge.  That also has a 3 foot hose leading to the right side of the filter canisters.  I reversed the housing so that the water flows in from the right and exits on the left so that I could have shorter and more direct runs of PEX.  Not only more direct, but also having it closer to the door where I can reach the valves better.

This closer view shows the water flow direction (blue arrow) and the 3-way valve (circled) just after the filters.  I have the clear plastic drain tubing attached in this photo, though normally I would only put it on after a filter canister change (they say to run it for a minute to clear out the loose carbon particles), or if I am allowing the system to drain whatever water is in it (prior to disconnecting, for example).

The 2-way valve above the 3-way was put in after I got a generous soaking when disconnecting.  I assumed once I had drained pressure via the plastic tubing that I could disconnect without incident.  Apparently I was quite wrong about that!  So that 2-way valve is simply to stop backflow.

This is behind the freakishly busy Nautilus panel.  I highlighted with yellow lines the PEX that I replaced, and you can see the 3-way valve there that allows me to switch between water sources — selecting either the filters or the original port on the front of the Nautilus panel.


Sewer Hose Supports

We are still using the Lippert Flow Down system from the last trailer.  It is certainly not perfect, but I like it much more than the Camco Sidewinder support we bought initially.  

It is definitely more trouble setting up, but is much better at adjusting to the proper height needed.  I still carry the Sidewinder with us too, in case we end up somewhere it is superior to the Lippert.

(stock image from Amazon)
Sewer Hose Weight

The pig!

Fill with water or sand to give it weight, then set it on the end of your sewer hose to ensure it stays put.

I always end up trying to find rocks and stuff to stack on it, this is much easier!   They also make “saddles” that do the same job – essentially just a pair of weighted bags that stretch across the end of the hose.   I think Brenda prefers that I had bought the little mini RV model instead of the pig, so perhaps it is best to consult your significant other before purchasing….  =)


Vacuum Breaker Valve

Not actually a modification per se, this was a “fix.”  

When I was running the black tank flush process at a campground, water started flowing down from the bathroom above into the storage underneath, close to where I was standing at the Nautilus panel.  Water in the RV is not something I am ever happy to see! 

Turns out it was leaking copiously from the vacuum breaker valve, which (in our Valor) is located in the front bathroom, under the sink.  I traced the white PEX from the valve back to the Nautilus panel, where the black tank flush connection is.  

I tried hitting the valve with a surge of water, as someone on YouTube mentioned that it can sometimes reset stuck valves.  Unfortunately that did not work for me so I replaced the valve with a brass version.   I completely missed the fact that the replacement was female threaded, so I ran (well, drove) to the local hardware for 1/2″ PEX to 1/2″ male NPT adapters.  They only had straight ones (versus an elbow) in stock so I had to add a short length of PEX and a PEX elbow instead.

Sewer Gate Valve

I really like how Alliance drains all four tanks (two black, two grey) through one exit drain pipe, versus two pipes I had in the previous rig.

One unfortunate side effect is that there is a drizzle of waste water when first setting up at a campsite and removing the cover.  yuck!

So we added this Valterra waste valve to prevent that.